The Senate voted 62 to 37 to move forward with the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would formally repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal law that banned same-sex marriage but that was overturned by the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide. The bill would also require states to recognize valid same-sex and interracial marriages performed in other states.

Some of the Republicans who voted to advance the bill, like Collins and Murkowski, were not a surprise. They’ve advocated for LGBTQ rights in the past. But others appeared to be new to taking action to protect same-sex marriage, even if this was just a procedural vote.

“Marriage is a deeply personal issue, and I have listened carefully to individuals across Wyoming to hear their perspective on this matter,” Lummis said in a statement. “Ultimately, my decision to proceed on this bill was guided by two things ― the Wyoming Constitution and ensuring religious liberties for all citizens and faith-based organizations were protected. Equality is enshrined in the Wyoming constitution, and this legislation is consistent with Article I, Section III.”

The bill now awaits a final vote, and it only requires 51 votes to pass. Unless Republicans unanimously agree to hold a vote immediately, the soonest it can happen is in about two weeks, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide.

During Wednesday’s floor debate, Portman emphasized all the things the Senate bill does not do, apparently an attempt to ease concerns among conservatives. It doesn’t require any states to perform same-sex marriages, in the event that the Supreme Court strikes down Obergefell, he said, and it “certainly” does not allow polygamy.

Same-sex and interracial marriages are already legal nationwide. The reason Congress is taking action is in response to conservatives on the Supreme Court recently overturning Roe v. Wade, eviscerating 50 years of precedent, and signaling they could use the same rationale for overturning cases that have established the right to same-sex and consensual relationships.

Jennifer Pizer, chief legal officer at Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ rights organization, said even though key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act haven’t been enforceable since 2013 because of previous Supreme Court decisions, marriage bans still live on the books in many states.

“With the current extremist orientation of the Court raising concerns that Obergefell may be next on the Court’s hit list, married same-sex couples are confronting the possibility that their marriages may once again be recognized in one state, but not another,” Pizer said in a statement. “The Respect for Marriage Act addresses that concern.”

It’s not right that “our family members, our neighbors, our congressional staff members and certainly our constituents are scared,” Baldwin said to her colleagues, urging their support for the bill. “They are scared that the rights they rely upon to protect their families could be taken away… They are scared for good reason.”